This site is always being improved and strengthened, so we welcome your comments.

Five Points

[*] 1. Depravity
[*] 2. Election
[*] 3. Atonement
[*] 4. Grace
[*] 5. Security

1. Depravity

The Fall did not destroy man's reasoning abilities given when created in God's image

"God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27).

  • Man had a distinctive nature and place in creation (Gen. 5:3; 9:6; I Cor. 15:39; James 3:9).

  • Man was "made a little lower than the angels, and [God] hast crowned him with glory and honour" (Ps. 8:5; cf. Heb. 2:9).

  • As sovereign among the creatures, man had dominion over everything on earth (Gen. 1:26, 28).

  • Man was not a puppet in God's hand, but was free to act as he chose.

  • Man's intellect made him unique in creation; he could think and reason.

    "Man became a living soul" after God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Gen. 2:7).

  • Man has both a material and a spiritual nature because of being created in God's image.

  • The image of God in man means he was "created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24; cf. Col. 3:10).

  • Man had free and open communion and fellowship with his Maker.

    Adam and Sin

  • Adam and Eve only understood evil and death through simple faith in God's Word.

  • Not being a puppet, man had the ability to choose to follow his Maker's will or not.

  • For his freedom to be meaningful, man needed a way to exercise his freedom.

  • Adam was not forced to act either way, but

  • The being called the devil and satan, an angel who fell because of pride (Isa. 14:12-15; Ezk. 28:15-17; I Tim. 3:6), came to Eve in the form of a serpent (Gen. 3; II Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9; 20:2).

  • Adam and Eve had disobeyed God's Word and knew it, and experienced guilt and fear.

  • Both were accountable for their disobedience and were punished.

  • Because God is holy and righteous, He cannot tolerate sin in any form.

      Note: Sin is an act or attitude of "missing the mark," that is, of falling short of God's standard.

    All Men Have Sinned

  • All men stand under condemnation because of Adam's disobedience and have a sin nature.

  • The New Testament reveals that through Eve and Adam's actions, "sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12; cf. v. 19).

  • Satan's influence continued to influence every son and daughter of Adam since.

  • The biblical description of fallen man is appalling:

    The Consequence of Sin

  • Man has "sinned, and come[s] short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

  • The ultimate result of sin is death.

    All men are able to response to the good news

  • Men are not able by themselves to restore their relationship with God without His help.

  • They need to hear the Gospel, and experience grace and the work of the Holy Spirit:

  • Sin caused moral decay, but man can still reason, think, and make judgments logically.

  • Romans 1:18-20 portrays man capable of knowing there is a God.

    Scripture evidence of man's reasoning and judgmental abilities

  • The Christian world view is rationally defensible.

  • Men are admonished to fear the Lord.

  • Men are admonished to seek the Lord.

  • Christians are lights:

  • Jesus and His disciples use of apologetics shows men can respond to truth.

  • This required preaching as shown in the below Scriptures.

  • God can use language to adequately communicate His thoughts to men.

  • The Holy Spirit brings conviction.

  • It is clear and plain that fallen men have cognitive abilities (the process of knowing) to understand God's initiative call.

    Men can respond to God's initiation through signs and preaching.

  • Moses signs and the Egyptian responses:

  • Moses told Israel "to see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today . . . The Lord said to Moses . . . stretch out you hand over the sea and divide it" (14:13, 18).

  • We see this in Christ teachings:

    Peter and the others did not follow "cleverly devised myths:"

  • So we see men can respond rationally to evidence, and believe and act according to the Word's teachings.

  • If men could not respond of their own free will.

  • The act of God selecting only few to be saved would be contrary to
    • His holiness and love character,
    • the example of the Jesus' signs and miracles ministry to unbelievers,

    Sovereignty of God, and man's freedom and responsibility

  • God can use man's free choice to work his purpose.

  • For example, God used Joseph's betrayal to carry His will.

  • Example of Pharaoh:

    1. Example of the Assyrians:

      • God used Assyria's desire for spoil and plunder and power, "to tread them [Israel] down like the mire of the streets." Yet Assyria did this on their own; "he [Assyria] does not so intend, and his mind does not so think; but it is in his mind to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few" (Isa. 10:7)

      • They worked out God's anger to carry out His purpose for Israel: "the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem" (v. 12).

    2. These examples do not shown God's arbitrary sovereignty, but "the law of habit--the law that a good man grows better and a bad man worse through his right or wrong choice--and this is a law of God has imposed on man" (C. Ryder Smith, Bible Doctrine of Man, pp. 25-27).

      What About:

    3. "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God" (Rom. 3:11).

      • Morally none are righteous.

      • God takes the initiative and seeks all.

      • Paul used this Scripture to show all men are have sinned, and not to show God needs to use His sovereign power to save man.

    4. "The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:14)*****.

      • "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (NASV).
      • They do not receive or understand the gifts of the Spirit.

      • This does not mean they cannot understand the preaching of the Gospel.

    5. But are men "totally" depraved?

      • Jesus "marveled because of their unbelief" (Mk. 6:6). Would He have marveled if He thought they were totally depraved?

      • Peter preached "Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know" (Acts 2:22), and "testified with many others words and exhorted them, saying, 'Save yourselves from this crooked generation'" (Acts 2:40). Would he have preached this if the unbelieving hearers could not evaluate the evidence and believe?

      • "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42).
      • "Unregenerate" Cornelius sought God (Acts 10:1-4, 22).

      • If totally depraved, why do "evil men and impostors . . . go on from bad to worse" (II Tim. 3:13)?

    6. Man's total loss of reasoning ability is not taught in Scripture.

      2. Election
      Corporate election of both Jews and Gentiles

      Chosen, elect, election in the New Testament

    7. Chosen and elect comes from the Greek verb that means "to choose."

    8. There are many references to elect, election, chosen in the Scriptures.

      • "Jesus Christ . . . chose us . . . He destined us to be his sons" (Eph. 1:3-6).

      • God has "chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction" (I Thess. 1:4).

      • "God chose you" (II Thess. 2:13).

      • Jesus referred to "the sake of the elect" (Matt. 24:22; cf. v. 24).

      • "They will gather his elect" (Matt. 24:51).

      • "Will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night" (Luke 18:7).

      • "Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?" (Rom. 8:33).

      • "To further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth" (Titus 1:1).

      • "Be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall" (II Pet. 1:10).

      • "Chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:1).

      • Paul uses the term predestined in Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:5, 12; etc.

      God elects Jesus Christ

    9. Jesus is the One "spoken [of] by the prophet Isaiah: 'Behold, my servant whom I have chosen'" (Matt. 12:18; cf. Isa. 42:1-7).

      • "Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations" (Isa. 42:1, 2)

      • "I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth . . . the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you" (Isa. 49:6, 7).

      • Christ "was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of times for your sakes . . . . that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious" (I Pet. 1:20; 2:4).

    10. This is an example of God's election to service.

      God's electing love and grace

    11. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

    12. "We love, because he first loved us" (I John 4:19).

    13. "God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

      • Election is a way to ascribe "to God the glory of salvation of each Christian in that the believer's choice of Christ is grounded eternally in the love and goodness of God" (Wenger, Introduction to Theology, p. 268).

    14. You who reject the Gospel "thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life" (Acts 13:46).

      • "Whosoever" will can be saved. "The Bible is . . . entirely clear that if men are lost they alone are responsible" (Wenger, Introduction to Theology, p. 268).

    Election is corporate; God first chose Israel, then the Gentiles

    Corporate election is taught in Ephesians

  • Paul writes, "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4).

  • Who is this "us," "you," and "we" Paul later writes about?

  • This union of the believing Jews and Gentiles was a mystery.

  • Ephesians 1 is not about an individual's eternal destiny, but about the mystery of Gentiles becoming a part of God's people.

    On Romans 9

  • In Romans 9 Paul sorrowed and anguished because the Israelites were rejecting their Messiah.

  • Why is this the case? Because "not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants" (Rom. 9:7).

  • This is demonstrated in Abraham's progeny. Ishmael was not a true descendant of Abraham because he was born of Hagar, Sarai's Egyptian maid (Gen. 16), but Issac, born of Sarai, was a true son of Abraham (chs. 17, 21). Similarly, of Isaac's two sons only Jacob was a "true" som of Abraham (25:19ff).

  • Through Isaac and Jacob came the promised Messiah.

  • God's election is shown in "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" (Rom. 9:13).

  • No one should find fault with God's working in history because He is the potter (Rom. 9:19-23).

  • "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,'
    and her who was not beloved I will call 'my beloved'" (9:24, 25).

  • "Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law" (vv. 30, 31).

    Another passage

  • "God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief" (II Thess. 2:13).

    Commands to preach to all men implies salvation is available to all

  • "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19).

  • "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15, 16).

  • "Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations" (Luke 24:47).

  • There are numerous Commands to preach to all.

    God's initiative and man's response

  • "Salvation is the divinely willed destiny for all men, but a destiny which can be thwarted by unbelief chosen in freedom in spite of the divine overtures and provisions" (God, Man, and Salvation, p. 428).

  • Some make an effort to know God's revealed ways.

  • Men are commanded to believe the Gospel.

  • Men come to faith by hearing:

  • The work of the Holy Spirit

  • The Holy Spirit can be resisted and God's grace nullified.

    What About:

  • "How much more will the Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matt. 7:11).

  • "Why do you ask me about what is good?" (Matt. 19:17)

  • Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44; cf. 65).

  • "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).

  • Acts 13:48: "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

  • In summary, to ordain only a few to eternal life is contrary to the context of the Jews' deciding to reject the Good News, and contrary to God's character, that is, His holiness and love.

  • Paul's miraculous calling on the Damascus Road?

  • "No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 12:3).

  • "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory" (I Cor. 2:7).

  • "But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles" (Gal. 1:15, 16).

  • "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (II Thess. 2:13).

  • "'A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall"; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do" (I Pet. 2:8).

  • "For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jude 4).

    3. Atonement

    Christ suffered and died so all sinners could live a new life

  • Christ's death was also vicarious (meaning Christ did something on behalf of us on Calvary) or substitutionary; that is, He suffered and died on behalf of sinners so they might receive eternal life.

    Christ died for all

  • God's grace is unlimited.

    There is no Limit to the Work of Christ

    What About

  • God's decrees of destiny.

    4. Grace

    God desires all to be saved

  • "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).

  • "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink" (John 7:37).

  • Jesus said, "When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (John 12:32).

  • The Holy Spirit "will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment" (John 16:8).

  • "Save yourselves from this crooked generation" (Acts 2:40).

  • God "commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

  • "Every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).

  • "God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth" (I Timothy 2:3, 4).

  • "The Lord is . . . forbearing towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

    All are free to accept or resist the free gift

  • "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man" (Mark 7:20).

  • "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

  • "If any man's will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God" (John 7:17).

  • "Whoever would draw near to God must believe" (Hebrews 9:6).

    What About


    5. Security

    Security in Christ

  • Jesus spoke: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" (John 10:27-30).

    There is no Security in Sin

  • "By this we may be sure that we know him" (I John 2:3) occurs several times throughout the First Epistle of John.

  • The type of our walk, our obedience to God's word, determines if we can have assurance that we live:

  • "Keep his commandments," "walk in the same way in which he walked," "does right," "love the brethren," "keep his commandments," "obey his commandments," "does not sin," are ways that we may have assurance that we have eternal life. One cannot have assurance of eternal life and live in sin.

    Warnings about Falling Away

  • "And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matt. 24:10-13).

  • "Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God'" (Luke 9:62).

  • Because of Jesus' "hard saying" "many of his disciples drew back" (John 6:66). Jesus said, "Do you also wish to go away? . . . Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas" (John 6:70, 71).

  • "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31-32).

  • "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:5, 6).

  • "To those who by patience in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he gives eternal life" (Rom. 2:7).

  • "Do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, 'branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.' That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off" (Rom. 8:11-22).

  • "Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died" (Rom. 14:15).

  • No one possesses salvation, but has a guarantee "given us [by] his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (II Cor. 1:22).

  • Paul wrote to the Galatian church, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of God and turning to a different gospel" (Gal. 1:6).

  • "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared" (I Tim. 4:1, 2).

  • "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths" (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

    The writer of Hebrews gives several warnings

  • "For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. . . . How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:26-29).

  • "See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven" (12:25).

    Other warnings:

  • Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church that their "punishment by the majority [was] enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow" (II Cor. 2:6, 7).

  • John wrote "about those who would deceive you" (I John 2:26).

  • "If, after they escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them" (II Peter 2:20, 21).

    Exhortation to endure, remain faithful

  • Exhortation to endure:

  • Look at the early church record:

    What About

  • "Once a son always a son."

  • "Eternal life cannot be taken away."

    By Leland M. Haines

    © Copyright 1998 by Leland M. Haines, Northville, Michigan, USA. All rights reserved.

    You are welcome to make copies of the above articles provided you copy the complete article and distribute it as a whole unit. Please show copyright information and source of article ( at the bottom.


    We welcome your comments and suggestions. Send then to the Webmaster.

    This page is presented by:

    Biblical Viewpoints Publications
    63100 County Road 111
    Goshen, IN 46526
    Phone: 574-875-8007

    Back to the Articles page.

    Return to Home Page

    June 22, 2000